So, we have discussed the Royal lineage of Jesus and the origins of Christianity and the Church etc. But now it is time to look at the main event that defines Christianity, both its dogma and imagery. The Crucifixion of Jesus……. or not?
It is clear that whatever your standpoint or belief is, there is no disagreement that the relevant authorities of the time needed to capture, interrogate and crucify Jesus. But the events leading up to, during and after the crucifixion are most definitely under scrutiny here.
Ultimately, Jesus was captured. He was marched through the town to be crucified at Golgotha. But Jesus did NOT die on the cross and was NOT resurrected three days later. But actually, a plot was carried out and executed to such a degree, that the biblical account of it, for all intense and purpose, is correct. However because of who Jesus really was, to prevent him from being perused by the authorities, Jesus had to disappear. Simply going into hiding was not enough. The authorities had to believe that he was dead. This is where the plot surrounding the crucifixion begins.
Jesus had to be handed over to the authorities, but in a manner that would keep his followers and his disciples safe. So only a small select number were privy to the plot. Two people in particular were Judas Iscariot and Mary Magdalene (more about her later).
It was planned that as Judas was Jesus’ protector, he had to remain with him throughout. So it was agreed that it was down to him to hand Jesus over. Which takes us on to the “betrayal” in the garden of Gethsemane. It was all pre-planned. But without his fellow disciples knowing. The events of that night, most probably went exactly as described in the bible.
There are however, some books and documents that suggest that Jesus was substituted with one of his followers around this time, enabling Jesus to flee and leaving the substitute to suffer the consequences. But this is definitely pure conjecture and does not have any real factual basis.
Jesus was captured and taken away, interrogated by the Sanhedrin, tortured and ridiculed by the Roman guards under the ruthlessness of Pontius Pilot, then marched to his place of execution on Golgotha.
Again, here things get a little bit sketchy and subject to translation. For example, the ubiquitous symbol of the crucifixion and Christianity is of course the cross – two lines, one long vertical and one shorter across near the top (an elongated plus) – which was popular in European countries. But historically the Roman Empire did not crucify in that manner, nor generally on a hilltop outside the city like that. Usually the crucifix was an “X” shape and the person attached upside down to prolong the suffering. Further to this, other crucifixion techniques where the elongated plus cross was used, the person would always be tied to the cross not nailed, but just before the final moments before death, the ankles were smashed and broken so that all the weight of the body would place huge strain on the arms, shoulders and chest areas, again intensifying the suffering before death. None of which was done when Jesus was supposedly crucified.
However, there is an explanation for this and a clue to the crucifixion plot. If you remember, at one point someone offers up to Jesus a sponge or rolled up cloth soaked in what is said to be a wine / vinegar / bile blend. Shortly after which Jesus says “It is finished” and dies. Specifically before there is chance to break his ankles etc. There is the famous scene where a Roman soldier thrusts a spear into Jesus’ side. This may or may not have actually happened. But if Jesus was not dead and he had actually been drugged to make out he was dead, then this could have been a true event where they needed to check he was actually dead.
So to make it appear that Jesus had died on the cross, he was drugged, then after a short period of time, taken down and taken away by his family and followers to be buried. He was taken away, his body cleaned and wrapped in a shroud and placed in a tomb owned by Joseph of Arimathea. But again, here is where things start to get a bit vague. It is said that when Mary went to the tomb there were two men standing outside. There are fabled as being angels watching over the resurrection. But actually isn’t is plausible that if we take everything I have written so far as correct, then the two men could actually be bodyguards, ensuring the safety of Jesus while he recovered from the drugs administered to him three days earlier. Surely if someone was drugged to the point of appearing to be dead, then a three-day recovery is definitely plausible!
I feel I should say at this point, that throughout all this there is actually a victim of the plot. Maybe it is a true event, or maybe an added fabrication to enhance the biblical account, but there is the death of Judas. Was he not aware of the plot and so hanged himself out of remorse? Or was he aware of it all and did not die? Who knows?
So as far as the authorities and to some extent the people, Jesus appeared to have died on the cross at Golgotha. But now we have to address two things… firstly his supposed resurrection and appearance to his disciples, and then there is another key person in all this…… Mary Magdalene.